After Storm Caroline reduced the Welsh Football League programme to just six games last weekend, a fairer weather forecast for this one means there should be plenty of football.
There are no longer runaway leaders in any of the three divisions and the battles are both top and bottom of each division are starting to get tense. This weekend brings together the usual clash between form sides, local rivalries and more than one game where there are scores to be settled. This is your Matchday 17 preview of the whole Welsh Football League.
Game of the Week
Port Talbot Town (7th) v Goytre United (6th)
The penultimate ‘Port Talbot derby’ of the season takes place at the GenQuip Stadium on Friday night with visitors Goyte United looking to complete league doubles over both Port Talbot-based clubs in Division One this season.
Last weekend United defeated Afan Lido 3-1 at Glenhafod Park to make it 3 wins from 3 in the ‘Port Talbot mini-league’ this season. United won the previous fixture in August 2-1. They are also unbeaten away from home in the league this campaign, while Port Talbot have struggled at home and have won just once in seven attempts.
However, Town did earn a superb point away to league leaders Haverfordwest County last weekend and will probably need to find a similar level of performance if they are to take the pride and bragging rights at the end of this encounter.
There are two games scheduled for Friday night. Llanelli Town (2nd) have the chance to go back to the top when Briton Ferry Llansawel (14th) travel to Stebonheath Park. Goytre United (6th) are involved in another local derby: after beating Afan Lido at home last weekend, they travel into Port Talbot this weekend to play Port Talbot Town (7th). Can United make it 4 wins from 4 in the Port Talbot mini-league this season?
On Saturday, Haverfordwest County (1st) face a long road trip east for a potentially tricky fixture at Cwmbran Celtic (10th); Penybont (3rd) also head east along the M4 to play Undy Athletic (12th); Goytre (4th) will be hoping to avenge their early-season loss at Rhiw Dda’r when Taffs Well (8th) visit Plough Road.
At the bottom, Monmouth Town (13th) host Ton Pentre (15th). It’s been a wretched season for both clubs so far. A first win of the season for The Rhondda Bulldogs could see them move out of the relegation places.
Other fixtures: Afan Lido (9th) v Caerau Ely (16th), Cwmamman United (14th) v Cambrian & Clydach Vale (5th)
On Saturday, current leaders Caldicot Town (1st) travel to AFC Llwydcoed (11th) on a run of three straight defeats. Despite sitting in mid-table, the Cynon Valley outfit is among the form teams in the division at the moment so a repeat of the 4-0 win for Caldicot earlier in the season looks unlikely.
Pontypridd Town (2nd) also head into the Cynon Valley to play Llwydcoed’s local rivals Aberdare Town (14th), while Gareth Morgan takes his unbeaten STM Sports (4th) side to AFC Porth (16th) – a first return to Dinas Park since he left the Rhondda club in the summer. STM beat Porth 18-0 earlier in the season.
In what is becoming a tight title race that could involve up to seven teams, Aberbargoed Buds (7th) host struggling West End (13th) and Pontardawe Town (6th) make a long trip to Torfaen to play Croesyceiliog (12th) hoping to keep pace with the front-runners.
Other fixtures: Risca United (8th) v Ammanford (10th), Abergavenny Town (9th) v Dinas Powys (15th), Garden Village (3rd) v Llantwit Major (5th) [postponed]
There’s an inter-city battle in Division Three as Swansea University (2nd) play host to Newport City (5th) at Sketty Park. Swansea Uni have closed the gap on the leaders in recent weeks and as the form team in the division, they will fancy their chances against a Newport City suffering a slight dip at the moment.
Speaking of form, over the last six games Bridgend Street (3rd) and Treharris Athletic Western (7th) stand third and second respectively. They meet this weekend at The Willows and Treharris will be out to avenge an 8-2 home defeat earlier in the season.
Of the other main promotion contenders, both play sides near the bottom. Trefelin BGC (1st) are at home to Neuadd Wen (14th), while Tredegar Town (4th) make the short trip south to take on Treowen Stars (16th) in an inter-valleys affair.
Other fixtures: Ynysygerwn (15th) v Trethomas Bluebirds (8th), Ely Rangers (13th) v Chepstow Town (11th), Panteg (9th) v Pontyclun (6th)
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)